Castaways Hotel and Casino

The Castaways Hotel and Casino operated between 1963 and 1987.  Situated in Paradise, Nevada on the popular Las Vegas Strip.  This area is known for its hotels, resorts and casinos and is well known for its beautiful cityscape.

The Castaways Hotel and Casino opened in 1963 and was situated across from the Sands Hotel.  It was bought by Howard Hughes, a billionaire, in the 1960’s and was demolished to make space for The Mirage.

The Red Rooster – Humble Beginnings

The Castaways Hotel and Casino has an interesting history that goes back to 1931.  The hotel and casino was built on the land where the Red Rooster once stood.  Built in 1931 it was frequented by patrons from California and Utah.  It was one the first night clubs on Highway 91, outside of Las Vegas.  Gaming was added and there were many owners up until the 1950’s.  The Red Rooster was not a hotel, but accommodation for patrons was available at a motel that stood next to it, the Sans Souci. The Red Rooster was demolished in the 1950’s and a hotel and casino was built by George Mitzell who was the owner of the Sans Souci.  The hotel casino became popular for dining, floorshows, lounge acts and good old fashioned gambling entertainment.  Things did not go well and within a year the owners filed for bankruptcy.  In the 1960”s the casino had to close and operated as a hotel only.

It was then bought by new owners who renovated and included a casino and it was renamed the Castaways.  The Castaways Hotel and Casino was given a Pacific Island theme and there was even a woman swimming in a fish tank to entertain the visitors.  The entertainment was not great, but did bring some spectators, but unfortunately not enough casino patrons.  Once again there was a cash flow problem and the casino had to close.  The Castaways remained open without the casino and patrons still came to watch the shows and to dine in their restaurants.  The Castaways had grown from 100 rooms when it opened to 250 rooms by the late 1960’s.

What made the Castaways famous was a scale replica of an East Indian temple which one of the managers had purchased and assembled.  Visitors could walk through it and it became a popular tourist attraction.

Demolition of the Castaways Hotel and Casino

The Castaways was bought by Howard Hughes who at that time was snapping up casinos on the strip.  After Hughes died the Castaways Hotel and Casino still operated under the company’s name and managed by Bill Friedman, a casino consultant and author.  The Castaways Hotel and Casino survived until 1987 even though it was not the most fancy of resorts.  Steve Wynn purchased the Castaways Hotel and Casino and soon after that it was demolished and Wynn announced that he was going to build a hotel casino, The Mirage.  The Mirage would consist of 3044 hotel rooms and a casino and so began the megaresort age on the Las Vegas strip.  Later Steve Wynn built another resort on the same property known as Treasure Island.

From humble beginnings, The Castaways Hotel and Casino went from a nightclub to a casino and hotel and was eventually demolished to make way for one of the biggest resorts on the strip.